Essay: Poof! the Phenomenon of Public Vanishing

John Kennedy used to wonder what he would do with himself after he finished his second term in the White House. He would be at "the awkward age" then, he said, "too old to begin a new career and too young to write my memoirs."

After Dallas, Kennedy was translated into a sudden myth, a permanent luminescence. It is a profitless irony that the drama of his death spared him the long, fading afterlife of the ex-powerful.

There is a phenomenon of public vanishing in America that is poignant and spooky. It is a compact enactment of the American themes of...

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